Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Light dawns over Times Square

By golly, the New York Times is catching on! In his Political Times column, Matt Bai ruminates on the larger meaning of America's roiling anger about body scanners, pat-downs, and bullying bureaucrats in general:

...the “Don’t touch my junk” fiasco raises, yet again, what has become the central theme of Mr. Obama’s presidency: America’s faltering confidence in the ability of government to make things work. From stimulus spending and the health care law to the federal response to oil in the Gulf of Mexico, Mr. Obama has continually stumbled — blindly, it seems — into some version of the same debate, which is about whether we can trust federal bureaucracies to expand their reach without harming citizens or industry.
Good grief! This could have been a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Mr. Bai goes on to speculate that perhaps the Democrats were misled by their electoral triumphs in 2006 and 2008. (You think?) He holds up the Cash for Clunkers boondoggle as just such an over-reaching, though I suspect it was mostly forgotten by November 2: ObamaCare was the clunker on most of our minds by that time.
White House aides expressed shock this week at how controversial the T.S.A. has now become. They seem to regard this latest argument as a distraction from the security issues that matter more.... But this is just the latest iteration of a larger debate that surrounds much of what Mr. Obama does. And, just as with the health care protests and the reaction to the BP oil spill, the administration’s surprise seems to indicate that it still doesn’t quite get what that debate is really about.
Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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